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La Science des Rêves

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From the moment I saw the preview for La Science des Rêves in cinema a while ago I knew I wanted to see that film. The trailer just had so much quirky goodness – and The Strokes playing Fear of Sleep – in it, that the film had to be a winner.

Stéphane with huge hands in the film

It’s a French film directed by Michel Gondry who’s famous for many great music videos (like the White Stripes’ fantastic Lego video for Fell in Love with a Girl or their stunning video for Dead Leaves and the Dirty ground or that weird old Daft Punk video or loads of Björk stuff) – and for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind as well, I guess. But the film is in both French an Spanish (I think) because the main protagonist, Stéphane, is from Mexico – and played by the great Gael García Bernal who was good in La mala Educación and Y tu Mamá Tambien but great in The Motorcycle Diaries or Amores Perros – and tries to survive his time in Paris speaking Spanish.

And while the film’s title Science des Rêves (Science of Dreams) got a nice sounding but not quite spot-on translation to Science of Sleep for the English – and strangely that same English title for the German – version, they did a much better job for the text within the film. At least all the Spanish parts were dubbed into German, while the French parts remained in French with subtitles being given so those among us whose French doesn’t span a sufficiently wide range of swearwords could still follow.

Stéphane’s parents are separated, his dad died, his mum lures him to come to Paris and take a job. He gets to know his charming neighbour Stéphanie – played by Charlotte Gainsbourg – and starts fancying her fried Zoé. It turns out that the job ‘in graphics’ which his mum got for him is quite crap and centres around him putting company logos on ready-made calendars. But all that is just the background for Stéphane’s inner life and his dreams anyway…

Stéphane and Stéphanie

In his fantasy he operates his own TV show, takes over his life for good, creates illusory worlds where he creates cities (made of toilet paper rolls with the White Stripes playing in the background nonetheless!), reigns a calendar printing empire doing his calendar of catastrophes (every month has its own catastrophe), builds time machines and 3D glasses, motorises Stéphanie’s little cuddly horse and lives out his crush on her.

Toilet paper roll buildings in the film

It’s all pretty weird but I felt right at home with it. Thanks to all those daydreams of coming up with my own world, I guess.

A Björk-video-like  moment in the film with felt shoes

So, yeah, make sure you see that film… I’ve got to build an ocean now.

Uh, a Kafka-like, or Burroughs like or whatever moment in the film

Unrelated Playlist.

[Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

October 5, 2006, 0:53

Tagged as film, gael garcía bernal, michel gondry, science des rêves, strokes.


Comment by Stefan: User icon

I can’t believe there are no comments on this entry yet! I have just returned from a short trip to Germany’s former capital to finally get to see this movie and I’m really glad to have seen it before it finally leaves the screens. After the movie my company noted that he found it “partially rather strange” and that he did not comprehend certain aspects of the story line. I was rather astonished by his remark because I have seldomly been so immersed into a movie in my life. I suspect this could be related to my own dream life, since I’m a person who dreams a lot (meaning several ‘movies’ per night), who dreams pretty much on a daily basis, who dreams pretty weird stuff, who dreams very lively (lots of movements while asleep!) and who can very often remember the contents of his dreams quite detailed. In fact, when I fall asleep and when I wake up I even tend to have a phase in between reality and dream world where I have told a lot of irrational stuff to my former girlfriends :-)

November 9, 2006, 3:07

Comment by ssp: User icon

Save for some pre-waking up nightmares I am not a big dreamer (or dream rememberer), but I’m good at daydreaming… so that may be sufficient to appreciate the film.

November 9, 2006, 14:17

Comment by SWF: User icon

Just caught the movie in the annual French Film Festival in Malaysia a couple of days ago. I love the movie and all its quirkiness. Despite the awkwardness that Stephane has to go through, his passion for life and love is what I wish I could have expressed so fluently, in reality or fantasy. His suffocating sense of being in love and finding a soul mate is certainly the kind of reality we’ve all been experienced before, or yet to experience. Even Stephanie’s reluctance to disclose her true feeling is very much comprehensible. A lot of us fear that the stripping down of our emotions will leave us bare and vulnerable. The tug of love is so much in tuned within many lonely souls here, it feels like I’m watching myself in the movie. As a Malaysian, I just want to say that I crave for wonderful movies like this.

June 2, 2007, 15:16

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